Moi or Mugabe? Remembering Mohibullah’s rape photos

A photo was on social media and news websites, showing a man pushing an unconscious woman on the bed next to a stream. Even in 2017, a photograph in such atrocious circumstances had become…

Moi or Mugabe? Remembering Mohibullah's rape photos

A photo was on social media and news websites, showing a man pushing an unconscious woman on the bed next to a stream. Even in 2017, a photograph in such atrocious circumstances had become part of modern history.

It shows the Prime Minister of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, being taken to hospital in Yangon after several men overpowered her motorcade in Rakhine State, where a mass gang rape has become a national disaster.

The victim was Mohibullah, a man whose shoulder was wounded in the incident. Mohibullah was then imprisoned as someone suspected of involvement in the rape, and who was forced to take his “most intimate photographs, which he would then show Aung San Suu Kyi”, according to Mohibullah’s defence team. Aung San Suu Kyi soon visited the grave of Mohibullah, and afterwards fired her intelligence minister, Thura Shwe Mann.

Mohibullah filed a complaint against Aung San Suu Kyi before the United Nations (UN) investigative commission, which found the documentary evidence that there was rape. This information was then submitted to the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, as the evidence for genocide.

The board concluded that Aung San Suu Kyi “has the utmost responsibility to protect all Myanmar citizens, especially the Rohingya minority.

“In order to ensure the security of all members of the Rohingya community, and especially the females, all of the requested documents should be released immediately, without delay.”

These documents included Mohibullah’s death certificate. Shortly afterwards, more human rights violations against Rohingyas became visible – killings, land grabs, and assaults. This became the international outrage. This series is part of The Guardian’s special series Saffron Revolution, which celebrates 50 years of the late Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom struggle.

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